As a former film student, I see a lot of potential in competitive filmmaking as a reality TV subject. I know Project Greenlight made some waves at the beginning of this whole reality era, but my idea is much better.
Here’s what I envision: ten or twelve aspiring filmmakers are put into teams, a la The Apprentice, and given tasks that they have to complete together. They rotate positions (director, editor, writer, cinematographer, etc.) and the tasks would vary. They could make a TV commercial, a music video, a silent film, a musical, whatever. They would all be short, of course, so that at the end of the episode we’d have time to watch each team’s film in its entirety.
Then of course one person gets voted out each week, until it’s down to one person against another. Then they each make an open subject short, perhaps, and the best person wins the chance to screen their short at a film festival. They’d also probably get meetings with movie executives and so forth, perhaps a grant to make a film, or some expensive equipment (an Avid editing setup, maybe?).
Just think of the drama! Film shoots are stressful and something always goes wrong. From casting decisions to editing decisions, there are always disagreements. Personalities clash, crews pull all-nighters and go half-crazy…what more could you ask for?
I await your offers, TV land.